Roland Peens responds to Tim James: On the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auction
By Christian Eedes, 24 October 2019
Correspondence from Roland Peens, managing director of Wine Cellar and stakeholder in the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auction programme, in response to Tim James’ Opinion & Analysis piece on the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction.
We regard your views of the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auction platform as a ‘abject failure’ to be misguided and slanderous.
We aim to grow the secondary fine wine market in South Africa and more auctions can only be beneficial to increase liquidity and develop the market. There is no need to compare the Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction with the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auction platform as they seem to service different markets. But since you use the comparisons to determine success, please consider the facts detailed in Table 1.
|Lots sold %||81%||99%|
|South Africa wineries represented||85||64|
|Bottles Sold (or 750ml equivalent)||2746||4410|
|Total Sales at Hammer Price||R3 466 747||R2 623 000|
|Average Rand/bottle of SA wines *||R1 154**||R595|
|Average vintage of lots||2000||2007|
|Top 50 most expensive wines on auction||46||4|
|* Based on 750ml or equivalent
**R1 262 with imported wines
This completely contradicts many of your statements and general view. Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auctions offers a sustainable, open-market platform that maximises sellers’ proceeds.
As mentioned before on Winemag.co.za, we don’t consider unsold lots to be an indicator of success. Mature auction markets, both art and wine, rarely enjoy 100% sales. Lower unsold rates infer lower reserve prices.
Table 2 compares similar wines in both auctions. Although vintage and quantities are slightly different, there is fair room for comparison. Considering the seller receives 13.8% less than hammer price at Strauss & Co and 25% less at CFRWA, all sellers would have received higher proceeds on the Strauss & Co platform. Furthermore, the highlighted wines (Waterford, Vergelegen and Raats) were sold below current release prices.
|Figures based on hammer price per bottle. Number of 750 bottles or equivalent sold in brackets.|
|Kanonkop index||R1 113||R1 031|
|Average (Paul Sauer, Cabernet, Pinotage)||(219)||(120)|
|Sadie Columella Vertical||R2 500||R2 083|
|(2001-2012 and 2005-2016)||(12)||(36)|
|Vergelegen Index||R1 134||R808|
|Average (V, GVB)||(48)||(60)|
|Average (Peter Barlow, John X Merriman)||(72)||(130)|
|De Morgenzon Index||R896||R690|
|Average (Divas, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay)||(66)||(108)|
|Raats Index||R1 560||R778|
|Average (MR, CF)||(39)||(72)|
|Klein Constantia Vin de Constance||R6 889||R3 750|
|Waterford The Jem||R1 889||R1 333|
We request that you reconsider your views and publish a correction and apology on Winemag.co.za. If you would like help in understanding the figures, our strategy or operations, we would be pleased to meet with you.
Roland Peens, Higgo Jacobs and the Strauss & Co Fine Wine Auction team.
- Due to the inability of presenting data in table format of the comments section on Winemag.co.za, this response is published as an article.